Monday, October 27, 2008

Right Equals Wrong

During a recent visit to the Boston area, I had the pleasure of visiting the Plimoth Plantation ( with my family. It is a must see for both children and adults. What is truly impressive is the museum’s ability to re-create the experience of both the native Wampanoag and the English colonists of the 1600s. The actors playing the different parts are so believable that you’ll truly feel like you are having an out of time experience! Before I walked through the plantation, I thought I knew what to expect and I am truly delighted to say, I was wrong! It is amazing how one’s views change when one is placed in another one’s situation or walked in their shoes. In this case, I was expecting to be sympathetic towards the Wampanoag and harshly critical of the colonists. How else could you be, after all the English were responsible for the killing, spreading of diseases, taking slaves and obliterating native cultures. At least, that’s what’s been written in the more accurate recordings of the history of that time. But a visit to the plantation and the experience of living and talking to the colonists in addition to the Mayflower museum, gave me a better feel for what it was like for the English. Imagine having just left Holland on the Mayflower and traveling for 2 months over the Atlantic, losing your family members, getting sick, not knowing where you are going or what to expect, leaving the comforts and convenience of the Europe of 1600s (the cobble stone streets, brick houses, fashionable clothing and furnishings, culture, etc.) to arrive in an “uncivilized” land, facing people of a different color, language, little to no clothing, pierced and tattooed with different customs and having to start life from scratch. They wanted to create a world they knew and had liked for the most part. After all, if they had stood up to the Catholic Church, then they could certainly battle a few natives in this strange land. And so it goes…

Now, this is certainly not about early American history and who did what to whom. I am merely sharing a story that has been told many times from different perspectives and narratives to illustrate how easy it is to lose sight of the big picture. Seeing the big picture is only easy if you are not in it. Hence, this is the reason why companies and corporations have off site team building meetings and retreats facilitated by well paid consultants and trainers. Whether they know it or not, they are creating a space where their managers can now see the bigger picture and interact with their colleagues without their personal agendas, learning to cooperate through friendly games that enhance cooperation and team work. For the most part, these meetings are successful and the decisions made are sound and for the good of all. That is until they all come back to work and try to implement whatever was decided on. Now in real time, and in the middle of the picture, much is forgotten or lost. So what happened?

What happened is what happens in most conflict situations. One party believed that their version of the story is the truth and the other party’s is not. Since the question of who is right and who is not, cannot be answered especially if the intention is to find the “wrong” party, it is best to accept that both are “right”. Yes, it is possible for both to be “right”. In the case of the Wampanoags and the colonists, they were both right in their perspectives. But what didn’t exist was the possibility that both truths could have existed side by side. If they had stopped trying to convince each other or worse yet, convert each other, history might have turned out differently for the native Wamponoags. This suggestion here is not merely a “why can’t we all just get along” side by side. It is a shift in consciousness that no one has to be wrong. In fact, it is possible that there is no right or wrong. And the sooner we stop trying to find the guilty party, the sooner we can solve the problem together.

Since humans are the ones who created this concept of duality in order to make sense of the world and themselves, it is also possible for them to deconstruct it. We are at a time in our history and evolution where we are running out of the old standard sources of energy, tensions and conflict are building up everywhere in the globe while corporations and businesses are becoming global, and fear is prevalent which disallows candid and open dialogues without agenda and preconceived notions. Fixing the symptom, is at best fruitless in addition to the fact that there is no time. Human consciousness needs to make a huge leap in order to expand and survive. It is time to keep our egos in their place and to realize that what worked thousands of years ago doesn’t any more. There is no wrong or right, we have to work together to make sense of this world and to provide a safe place for our children and theirs. It is time to re-examine our belief systems and make the appropriate changes at the true source of the problems and not somewhere downstream, where we’re bound to keep on repeating the same mistakes. It is time for our self-righteousness and our egos to take a back seat to our creativity, cooperation, and sense of being connected to each other so that we can solve our problems together. It is time for change, real change that can only come about if we can change our beliefs.

1 comment:

Work'nPlay said...

Hi Sherry,

What a well-written (and well-timed because of Thanksgiving coming up) post. You presented a valuable perspective that I wish everyone would read. :-)